Saturday, December 25, 2010

Anthony Burgess, the Tarot and his inner Madame Arcati

Anthony Burgess and his palm
Given the supernatural flavour of the festive season - Christ's cot, the Pope and Shrek meld into a methane-fuelled hallucination - it is with some delight I learn today that the late Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, was something of a Madame Arcati himself.

Not only a student of the divinatory arts, such as astrology and the Tarot, he also wrote a short story back in the early 60s called Chance Would Be a Fine Thing which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in October. I am deeply bitter I missed this. Someone will suffer. We now have to wait till 2013 before it's published in a collection of newly discovered work.

We can thank the scholar squirrel Dr Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, for unearthing this work. In a Telegraph report Dr Biswell says: “[Burgess] had a strong interest in horoscopes, tarot cards and predictive dreams. In the second volume of his autobiography he even claimed to have predicted the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.”

The celebrated Tarot reader Mary K Greer recounts: "[Burgess] is known to have read cards at a village fete in the 1950s disguised as ‘Professor Sosostris the famous clairvoyant.'"

Professor Sosostris - has a ring to it.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking of "A Clockwork Orange" today. Started as a novella. Before the rape scene Adrienne Corri said to Malcolm McDowall "Now you get to see if I'm a natural redhead".

Anonymous said...

She wasn't

Anonymous said...

Anthony Burgess competed with Neil Kinnock for the Comb-Over Gold Medal. Do you know who won? Give us some more illustrations of this.

Köy Deli said...

His short story is available now and for the next four days on BBC radio: